A luxury villa with its own private pool, set in the heart of the rolling Dordogne countryside and offering total peace and tranquility. The villa is well appointed, with every modern convenience. A large open plan living area with stone fireplace and French doors leads onto the terrace and pool. more info...
Dordogne holiday cottages and gites: from rural cottages to bustling market towns, you'll find excellent self catering holiday accommodation throughout the Dordogne on selfcateringhols.com. View our top Dordogne holiday cottages below, or search for properties that suit your requirements.
With its fascinating history, beautiful towns, stunning countryside and delicious gastronomy, it is hardly surprising that the Dordogne is such a popular destination, both for ex-pats in search of a slower pace of life and for holiday-makers wanting a taste of the good life.
Taking its name from the river that winds its way slowly from the hills of the Massif Central towards the Atlantic coast, the region is a patchwork of limestone plateaus and pretty valleys, dotted with medieval villages, pretty market towns, stunning castles, dramatic gorges, sun-drenched vineyards, and no fewer than seven rivers
Perigueux, the area’s capital, is a beautiful medieval town, and well worth visiting, with charming narrow streets and pretty shops packed around the cathedral, and buildings going back to Roman times. The best time to come is market day, when truffles, a local speciality, are in season. The region’s charcuterie is also justly famous, as are its walnuts, and it is France’s main producer of both tobacco and strawberries.
The towns of Bergerac and Brant?me are both lovely French towns, while Sarlat-la-Caneda must rate as one of the prettiest towns in France, with its medieval, Renaissance and 17th century buildings, including the cathedral, the Chapelle des Penitents Bleus and the fine Bishop’s palace. There is a market here too, full of irresistible food and wine. It’s a great place to potter around, especially in spring and autumn, when the crowds have thinned out a little – in high summer it can become a little over-crowded, as French and British holiday-makers use the town as a base to explore the area. St Emilion is another pretty medieval village, world famous for its great wine. As well as visiting vineyards in the area, it has a pretty chateau and an interesting abbey.
One of the most notable features of the Dordogne are its castles, or ch?teaux, over a thousand of them (though the definition of what makes a ch?teau is rather loose, and covers anything from an armoured barn to a fairy-tale palace complete with turrets, dungeons, moat and ghosts.) Many of the ch?teaux were originally built during the 13th and 14th centuries, to ward off the English during the Hundred Years War, and later during the Wars of Religion. The largest and most impressive include the Ch?teaux de Beynac, Castelnaud, Milandes, Bannes, Losse and Montbazillac.
If the medieval inhabitants of the Dordogne left an impressive record of their passing, so did the first known inhabitants of the area. The Dordogne is home to some of the oldest and most impressive signs of human existence, including the amazing cave paintings at Lescaux (now only open to the public in the form of facsimile paintings) and Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, where evidence of Cro-Magnon man, a predecessor to Homo Sapiens, was first discovered and where the caves feature stunning stalagmite and stalactite formations.
The Dordogne enjoys a temperate climate, with generally mild winters and hot, dry summers. Average temperatures can reach 27?C in mid-summer, 23?C in June and September, dropping to 18?C in May.
Bordaux is the largest airport in the region, though some budget airlines also fly to Bergerac. A third possibility, though somewhat less convenient, is Toulouse, almost three hours away.
With so many rivers running through it, it is hardly surprising that water sports, particularly canoeing and kayaking, are popular in the Dordogne. The limestone valleys offer good opportunities for climbing, while the oak forests are perfect for horse-riding, walking and cycling. For the culturally-minded, in addition to all the ch?teaux, there are many interesting museums full of information on pre-historic and medieval life. There is also a tobacco museum in Bergerac.